Nearly seven years after the release of NieR:Automata, fans are still clamoring for a third entry in the series helmed by Yoko Taro. While we are all eagerly awaiting another AAA console game in the DrakenNier universe, it’s easy to forget that a sequel is already available to play—but it won’t be for much longer. That sequel is NieR Re[in]carnation.
Square Enix’s gacha game set in the NieR universe—and directed by Taro—has been operating since 2021 but announced on January 22 that the end of service was imminent. The final chapter of its ongoing story, Act III: Transmigration, will be released on March 28 before service for the mobile title shuts down a month later on April 29. Once service is shut down, an integral part of the NieR series will be forever lost. If you’re a fan of Taro’s saga, then you owe it to yourself to play Reincarnation before the shutdown occurs.
Reincarnation has all the expected hallmarks of a gacha game. This mainly means that the title’s systems heavily revolve around the need to spend real or in-game currency to acquire characters, weapons, and other items. But since the game’s launch in 2021, the story and character depth have earned it praise as one of the “best console-like games on mobile.” Part of this is due to the way Reincarnation structures its story.
The game begins by giving you control of a girl named Fio, an amnesiac trapped inside of a place only known as The Cage. Fio navigates through her new prison and dives into vignettes that tell the story of what the game calls Memory Characters. These vignettes let Reincarnation explore a number of genres, such as the Western, all within the larger story of Fio’s attempts to unravel what is actually going on inside of The Cage. All of these interwoven narratives are crafted by a team of writers led by Takashi Ohara and overseen by Taro, meaning the overall vibes of the story feel like a natural sibling to the rest of the NieR series.
In the game’s opening chapters there are few connections to be made between Reincarnation and its AAA siblings, giving the impression that this was an optional part of the world most players didn’t need to bother with. But the latest story beats make the connections to the larger NieR universe clear and—without spoiling where the narrative goes—it has massive implications for the future of the franchise as a whole. As it approaches its end of service, Reincarnation is positioning itself to be the climactic finale to a story that has been in motion since the original NieR first released in 2010. No new NieR game will be able to ignore Reincarnation, but after April 29 nobody will be able to experience that story firsthand.
In some ways the deletion of a Yoko Taro game’s data seems only natural, but Reincarnation’s erasure differs from the narrative trick that has been pulled by past NieR games. Whereas Automata and Replicant offer the player a narrative reason for deleting their save data, there is always a way to relive the experience thanks to ownership of the game itself (another reason to buy physical media).
Reincarnation will not have that option. Play it while you can! A silver lining of the game’s imminent demise is that in the run-up to the plug being pulled, Square Enix is introducing a number of boons to players, such as the return of old events and ten free summons (pulls) every day. This makes it easier than ever to get around the gacha grind.
If you do find yourself downloading Reincarnation in hopes of completing the story before April 29, then there is one more thing you should do—document everything. Take screenshots and record videos as much as possible, because that is the only way Reincarnation will be preserved after the end of service.
NieR Re[in]carnation is available on iOS and Android until April 29, 2024.
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